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View Poll Results: Vet or Farrier

Voters
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  • Call the vet

    20 34.48%
  • Call the farrier

    25 43.10%
  • Both

    9 15.52%
  • Neither

    4 6.90%
Multiple Choice Poll.
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Results 1 to 20 of 51
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr. 5, 2004
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    Default Hoof abscess: Do I call the vet or the farrier?

    I just received a message from my friend that my horse appears to be suffering from an abscess. All of the signs are there, and it appears as though its going to come out through the coronet. The BO/coach took a look at it and concurs on my friend's opinion. (I've been away on vacation, just got back tonight.)

    They gave him bute, soaked his foot with epsom salts and poulticed it.

    Now while I have been moderately happy with the barn's farrier, due to several complaints the barn removed its "use our farrier only" policy. At least 3-4 other horses have developed abscesses that blew out at the coronet this year, and I couldn't help but wonder if it was due to a hot nail.

    Anyways, they just removed the farrier restriction last month and I have been toying with the idea of using my former farrier (who does feet with the precision of a brain surgeon, and is half the price of this "popular" sporthorse farrier).

    I am pretty pissed about the abscess, especially since he was shod on Tuesday.

    Money is pretty tight right now, and have to decide whether to call the vet OR call the farrier (the trusted one, not the barn's). I can probably get a script for antibiotics for when the abscess blows, but until then what do I do? Which expert do I call?
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 29, 2008
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    San Diego
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    2,223

    Default

    Vet. They can pull the shoe if needed and make sure it is coming out, or cut it out, and give you antibiotics if necessary. There is also a green epsom salt paste that works wonders when used under a hoof wrap, no soaking needed!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec. 27, 2001
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    Washington, DC
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    Default

    Um, you may want to ask them. My farrier wants me to call the vet -- unless he (the farrier) is there, and the horse is hobbling. He's pretty reluctant to "dig." *although if I beg he'll do a _little_ digging...

    But there is another vet who comes to the barn who always wants the farrier to do the digging.

    I'd go for the vet.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr. 7, 2007
    Location
    Tennessee
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    3,035

    Default

    If he was just shod Tuesday, I'd call the farrier. I want my farrier checking out abscesses moreso than my vet. I've heard of vets digging holes to China. My farrier isn't quite as aggressive. If I have an abscess that refuses to blow in a little over a week I'd call the vet. I don't put them on antibiotics after the abscess blows, I just keep it really clean. Tetanus booster is a pretty good idea too.



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 25, 2003
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    Boston Area
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    Default

    My vet always tells me to call my farrier first and he'll come out if she's not going to be in the area. However, I always call my vet to let them know what's happening.

    I don't give antibiotics for abscesses either.

    My horse had an abscess a couple of weeks ago. It was too deep to drain and I ended up packing the hoof with Magic Cushion rather than epsom salt past. The MC seemed to really help.

    In your shoes, I'd probably call the vet first and ask if it's appropriate for the farrier to come out.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug. 22, 2009
    Location
    Indiana
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    Default

    I'd say it depends on the individual vet / farrier. Like Asterix mentioned, some farriers want the vet to do the digging and then some vets prefer not to dig themselves, so I second asking them. I know if my horse ever needed a shoe pulled for whatever reason (radiographs, abscess, etc.) that my farrier would want me to call him to pull it before the radiographs were taken or whatever as he does not like vets pulling shoes.

    With a suspected abscess I suppose I'd let my farrier (who I trust and have been using for a while now with my horse) "dig" a little if he could tell about where it was but if nothing was found with that I would get the vet..If an abscess was thought to be the problem but was hard to locate about where it was or if it just wasn't popping I'd definitely consider just having the vet out to do radiographs over having either the vet or farrier dig a lot!

    If your vet or farrier will be out for something else, either would be fine I'm sure. Even if you use your farrier I think a lot of vets would give antibiotics if they were thought to be needed..

    JMHO.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    May. 17, 2003
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    Default

    I'd call my farrier and ask him if he wanted me to call the vet or if he wanted to come take a look first.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 24, 2005
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    Default

    My farrier doesn't like to dig. He was around when my horse started to become off before our eyes and did a bit, but when the vet came out he found the abscess on the other side of the hoof.



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb. 28, 2001
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    Default

    neither?

    Be patient?



  10. #10
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    Mar. 10, 2006
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    159

    Default

    Most farriers worst fear, vet with a hoof knife....



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Greensboro, NC
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    Default

    Since digging for an abcess is technically surgery, and since a farrier, unless also a DVM, is not legally allowed to do that, well...

    Now, that said, there is the fact that many vets don't know nearly enough about feet for me to feel comfortable with them digging around either.

    And, if the abcess is known or suspected to be coming out the coronet band, what is a farrier going to do? CERTAINLY not go digging!

    And, if it's KNOWN to be an abcess, or at least strongly suspected at least for the moment, then what will either of them do besides possibly prematurely dig that hole, cause a bigger injury, and potentially leave things set up for the abcess to re-form?

    Why are you pissed about the abcess? A shoeing didn't cause an abcess coming out the coronet band that quickly.

    Shoeing issues are not the only causes of abcesses. There are plenty of other things that need to be investigated with a rash of abcesses among different horses, including feed and environment. That is not to say this farrier does not leave toes long, white lines stretched, and the environment plays a role in allowing little pieces of sand/stone/rock to wedge into the white line, eventually working their way into abcesses and out the coronet band or other places.

    In THIS case, it sounds like at least a short-term wait and see choice is the best one. Bute is contraindicated in abcesses, with few exceptions, as it's anti-inflammatory and you WANT that inflammation, believe it or not, to help the abcess burst.

    Soak, wrap, keep the foot soft so the abcess can come out, but be aware that getting it too soft can cause problems too. And as soon as that thing bursts, stop soaking and start working on getting it healed, which cannot happen (quickly) if it stays soft and wet.

    If you are unhappy enough with the barn farrier, there is no toying around - start using the farrier you trust. But don't blame everything that goes wrong with feet on a farrier
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec. 14, 2009
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    Mid Atlantic Region
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    Default

    Abscesses are pretty common problem especially in the springtime. Some horses you can count on them like clockwork.

    Having said that I'll say why was it allowed to progress this far? It should have been immediately treated. Letting one break out the top is a sign of neglect. Is poor husbandry, and no excuse for it.

    Ordinarily any shoer worth their salt can easily deal with it. Most have cut out more abscesses than you have hairs on your head.

    However........
    Being as that many states have now re-defined that as surgery under the new vet practice acts, it now falls under their job description.

    I've found most of them don't like doing it but nonetheless due to their political conniving and manipulating it's now their problem. Call the vet and let them have it.

    I'd also consider it malpractice if they recommend letting it break out the top just to get out of cutting one out



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov. 13, 2002
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    PA, where the State motto is: "If it makes sense, we don't do it!".
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    Default

    I've heard of vets digging holes to China.
    That's been my experience! And he found nothing, but I had a freakin' crater in my horse's foot.... The farriers have always been more cautious about digging around in my horse's feet.

    That said, I would call the farrier you suspect of causing the problem and asking him/her what he/she wants done--will he/she come out or does he/she want the vet to deal with it. The last thing I would do is call another farrier out to correct someone else's mistake at this point.

    However........
    Being as that many states have now re-defined that as surgery under the new vet practice acts, it now falls under their job description.
    Yeah, that's a real concern too.... Seems to me vets have enough to do with treating real problems, like colic, laminitis and horses that are gushing blood....
    "Marriage is like a deck of cards--it starts with two hearts and a diamond and after a while you wish you had a club and a spade." ~seen on an anniversary card~



  14. #14
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    Default

    in my case, it's generally
    1. Me using the hoof testers & soaking/wrapping, followed by me
    2. Pulling the shoe and more soaking/wrapping, possibly making some shallow scrapes with the knife, followed by
    3. calling the farrier, followed by
    4. calling the vet

    It's been years since I made it to #4 except for a horse who was boarded out of state, then I just left it up to the BO since that was what I was paying him for (he was a 1-3-4 kind of guy and the vet pretty much said the same thing as the farrier - keep soaking for a few more days, but it wasn't his horse so I respect the overkill in that situation and preferred it).

    But the point is I have absolute faith in the parties operating steps 1-4 to not screw up. And that is the real key. Call whoever you trust most regardless of what the interweb tubz or BO says.
    Definition of "Horse": a 4 legged mammal looking for an inconvenient place and expensive way to die. Any day they choose not to execute the Master Plan is just more time to perfect it. Be Very Afraid.



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Feb. 21, 2009
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    Default

    I said both. Not necessarily to get them both out, but to just ask for advice and see which thinks they should come. Many busy vets will recommend calling the farrier first and then if it is not resolved in a couple of days , calling the vet again to come out. (That is, if the vet has a good working relationship with your farrier. )
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  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jun. 11, 2007
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    I agree with both. I'm still dealing with Gus's abscess(es?!?) going on a month now. It popped at the beginning of May (or I should say was dug out by vet) and now it's been a waiting game. Vet is coming back out this week to do x-rays and possibly block the hoof, as Gus is now off on the other front. Go figure. I've kept in contact with my farrier and she and the vet often work hand in hand. Farrier was fine with vet digging out the abscess and was out a couple weeks later to put some shoes on Gus.

    Whoever said that allowing an abscess to drain out the top was neglect... well, we do think Gus's abscess drained out both the coronet band and the sole. The day after he came up lame he had some puncture-like wounds on his coronet band. Lots of drainage. He was never off before that previous day. I don't say that's neglect... especially since I watch my boys like a hawk and notice when anything is amiss. So, you can't generalize something like that.

    Anyways, OP I hope your horse recovers quickly. I'm still hoping that Gus will turn around here soon. This most recent bout of lameness is getting old REAL fast. In the 10 Springs (years) I've owned him, I've only had a sound horse for 3 Springs... last "sound" Spring was 2006, I think. This stinks.
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  17. #17
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    Mar. 1, 2005
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    Call both to get their advice. When calling a vet, call the regular vet for this horse who knows the horse, the condition of his hooves, his hx of abscesses, etc. Let the vet decide if he/she needs to come out.



  18. #18
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    Jul. 17, 2009
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    My Farrier always sends me to the vet with a suspected abcess unless it is obvious where the abcess is. My vet specializes in ailments of the hoof and legs.
    "My biggest fear is that when I die my husband is going to try to sell all my horses and tack for what I told him they cost."



  19. #19
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    Dec. 13, 1999
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    Quote Originally Posted by NoBSshoer View Post
    Abscesses are pretty common problem especially in the springtime. Some horses you can count on them like clockwork.
    this is when I'd start evaluating the management, as it may be that the influx of higher sugar grass is to blame.

    Abcesses should never be accepted as just common - there is something wrong if a horse is chronically abcessing. Now, maybe there is nothing you can do about it - maybe the environment is such that the horse is on wet footing for long enough that his soles are too soft, and then the sun comes out and things harden to brick-like consistency and he bruises and abcesses. But at least then you know why. To just accept "oh, it's Spring, he's going to abcess, stock up on supplies" is ignoring something that could be very wrong.

    Having said that I'll say why was it allowed to progress this far? It should have been immediately treated. Letting one break out the top is a sign of neglect. Is poor husbandry, and no excuse for it.
    Really??? So the horse who comes up lame one day, and bursts the abcess out his coronet band the next, was poorly managed and the owner was neglectful? Please... The owner was supposed to immediately call the vet and demand she dig alllllll the way up the foot so it could drain out the bottom? No thank you
    ______________________________
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET



  20. #20
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    Dec. 14, 2009
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    Quote Originally Posted by JB View Post
    Really??? So the horse who comes up lame one day, and bursts the abcess out his coronet band the next, was poorly managed and the owner was neglectful? Please... The owner was supposed to immediately call the vet and demand she dig alllllll the way up the foot so it could drain out the bottom? No thank you
    Takes at least 3 or 4 days to travel from bottom to top. Not lame one day and popped the next. You oughta know better. Not paying attention is neglectful.

    Furthermore, long term damage can result to internal structures including but not limited to P3 fractures, osteomyelitis etc.

    Failure to treat in a timely manner is always wrong



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